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Melatonin vs Ramelteon [What is the Best Sleep Aid]

It can be discouraging to look into insomnia treatments. Some of the side effects are intimidating, and it’s natural to be careful about sleeping aids that have a direct effect on your brain. How do you find the best cure for insomnia which won’t impede your everyday routine?

This article will give an overview of both ramelteon and melatonin. These drugs are extremely popular, for very good reasons. One of them could easily be the key to curing your insomnia.

But which one is better? We will look into the pros and cons of each. Without beating around the bush, here is a quick rundown on melatonin vs ramelteon.

Table of Contents

Ramelteon vs Melatonin: An Overview
A Final Word

Woman lying in bed sleepless


Research shows that ramelteon is effective for treating chronic insomnia and it is safe to use. But what exactly is it?

You probably know that sleep cycles are regulated by melatonin. Insomnia happens when your body stops producing enough melatonin or when it stops responding to melatonin the way it should.

Ramelteon is a selective melatonin receptor agonist. It affects the part of your brain that responds to melatonin and improves the process. Put simply, it helps you fall asleep quicker.

This medication is most commonly marketed under the brand name Rozerem and it has been commercially available since 2005. Taking it is fairly straightforward: one 8 mg tablet per day, with or without food. You should make sure to take this drug around 30 minutes before going to sleep and then get 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

So ramelteon helps with chronic insomnia because it solves problems with delayed sleep onset. It also starts working fairly quickly, even after a single day of use. But what makes it stand out?

Unlike other cures for insomnia, ramelteon doesn’t cause dependence, which is why this FDA-approved sleeping aid is not classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance. Furthermore, this drug is a good choice for many people because it does not cause drowsiness while you’re awake.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of using ramelteon.


Easily Available

Since there is no chance of drug abuse, ramelteon (or Rozerem) is not as strictly regulated as other insomnia medications.

Safe to Take with Most Other Types of Medication

You shouldn’t take fluvoxamine while using ramelteon. Alcohol can cause problems as well, even though it doesn’t have a cumulative effect with ramelteon.

However, most other types of medication are allowed. Caffeine can be safe to take as well.

A Low Risk of Addiction

This drug doesn’t affect your mood in any way, so psychological addiction isn’t very likely. It doesn’t cause physical addiction.

A Good Choice for Anyone Who Can’t Afford to Feel Hazy During the Day

The lack of a soporific effect makes it extremely attractive to a large number of insomnia patients. After all, unwanted side effects are one of the biggest reasons people usually avoid taking medications for insomnia.

Good Tolerability

Unlike other sleeping aids, ramelteon is a drug you can use for extended periods of time without developing a tolerance to it. It’s also crucial that ramelteon doesn’t cause rebound insomnia or other typical issues people face after long-term insomnia drug use.



This drug is relatively expensive. You can get melatonin or other supplements at a much lower price.

It Won’t Necessarily Make You Feel Well-Rested

You can trust that ramelteon will help you fall asleep quicker than usual. However, studies show that people who have used this drug to fall asleep don’t necessarily feel better-rested in the morning.

More Research Is Needed

Why didn’t test subjects feel better-rested despite getting more hours of sleep? A lot more research is necessary when it comes to the subjective effects of this drug. Additionally, we aren’t sure yet about its effects on children, adolescents, and pregnant women.

Who It’s Best For:

Ramelteon is a relatively safe drug for treating chronic insomnia. It’s not a controlled substance, so it’s easy to get a prescription for it. Whether you want a cure for your long-term insomnia or your temporary lack of sleep, this could be the safest and most comfortable choice for you.

woman lying on bed sleepless night


Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the human body. It regulates wake-sleep cycles and it’s affected by the amount of light exposure you get. Some foods have an effect on melatonin production as well.

Not only do melatonin levels decrease with age, they are also subject to seasonal changes. Hence, many people start taking synthetic melatonin regularly or in the winter months. Taken as drugs or supplements, it is considered moderately effective when it comes to reducing insomnia.

Synthetic melatonin is one of the best-known over-the-counter sleeping aids out there. People use it for anything from jet lag to health issues. But although it is popular, this drug comes with a number of side effects.

There are also many common health problems that melatonin may worsen. These include diabetes, blood pressure issues, epilepsy, and other long-term conditions.

While ramelteon has a fixed dosage, you can take anywhere from 0.3 mg to 5 mg of melatonin. The right dosage for you will depend on what you’re treating with the drug and on your natural tolerance to it. It’s best to start under 0.5 mg and then build up the dosage over time if necessary.

It’s important to keep in mind that melatonin isn’t FDA-approved. You can purchase it over-the-counter and it’s possible to order it from the internet. However, it’s important to be careful with melatonin supplements, and you should always keep to a low dosage.

Here’s a quick overview of the pros and cons of taking melatonin to solve your sleeping issues.


Affordable and Easily Available

Being an over-the-counter drug, it’s not difficult to purchase melatonin. It’s considerably less expensive than other sleeping aids. However, you should keep in mind that a higher dosage might become necessary over time, so you may end up spending more than expected.

You Can Get It in Many Different Forms

Melatonin isn’t just distributed as a tablet. You can get melatonin drops, melatonin spray, even chewable gummies or lozenges.

Some Types of Melatonin are Moderately Safe for Children

It’s very important to consult a professional before you start treating your child’s insomnia. However, low melatonin dosages can be helpful to children in some circumstances. You should also consult your physician about the safety of using melatonin if you are pregnant or nursing.

Melatonin is a Safe and Effective Short-Term Solution

If you take melatonin for up to three months at a time, it’s unlikely to negatively impact your health. Furthermore, it’s the best choice if you only need help falling asleep because of special circumstances such as stress or jet lag. Overdose is not likely.


Many Unpleasant Side Effects

Melatonin can make it dangerous to operate a vehicle. Additionally, it can seriously impede your workplace performance and your overall state of mind. You will likely feel drowsy or irritable, and stomach cramps are likely as well.

A Bad Long-Term Strategy for Dealing with Insomnia

People who use melatonin for an extended amount of time can easily develop rebound insomnia. Thus, it’s not usually the best treatment for chronic sleep-related conditions.

Not Safe to Use with Various Other Drugs

Whatever medications you may be taking, it’s important to consult a professional before combining them with melatonin. This is especially true for blood-thinners of any kind. Both alcohol and caffeine are off-limits if you’re taking melatonin.

Who It’s Best for:

This is the best sleeping aid for jet lag. It’s recommended to people who only need help in the short term. Additionally, it’s one of the few safe choices for children and pregnant women, although it shouldn’t be taken in these circumstances without a doctor’s approval.

man sleeping

Melatonin vs Ramelteon: An Overview

Both ramelteon and melatonin can help you fall asleep quicker because they both affect your body’s sleeping cycle. Taking melatonin simply increases the levels of this hormone in your body. Ramelteon has an effect on the receptor in your brain that responds to melatonin.

Having professional advice is helpful in both cases, even though you can get melatonin without a prescription. Addiction and overdose aren’t very likely with either drug, although it’s very important to follow the instructions to the letter.

Which of the two should you go for if you have problems with falling asleep?

Melatonin is the better choice when it comes to affordability and easy access. It’s also what doctors will prescribe if your child has problems sleeping.

But if avoiding side effects is your main concern, you should go with ramelteon. This FDA-approved drug won’t affect your ability to stay sharp and focused. Additionally, it won’t cause rebound insomnia even after extended use.

A Final Word

In many cases, sleeping aids can help you bridge over a temporary problem. For example, they are good for dealing with sleep disorders caused by night shifts. Cutting back on the time it takes you to fall asleep can be a simple and effective way to improve your life quality.

But chronic insomnia may require some other approaches if you want to treat its root cause. If the reason behind your insomnia is depression or some other chronic disorder, you may need different types of medication altogether. Hence, your first step should be to seek professional advice which will help you understand all your options.